Members of MHI’s Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems (AGVS) Product Group are the industry’s leading suppliers of automatic guided vehicle systems.
Automatic guided vehicle (AGV) systems move parts and materials in many industries—automotive, chemicals, plastics, hospital, newspaper, commercial printing, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, warehousing and distribution and manufacturing.
For manufacturers, however, AGV systems can do more than carry parts and materials from location to location. They can form the actual assembly lines where the parts and materials are put together. Assembly lines at Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Harley Davidson, John Deere and Yamaha are composed of AGV systems.
“Automakers have only a few days to change their lines to accommodate new car designs,” says David Noble, senior sales engineer with Daifuku North America Holding Company.
“Assembly lines consisting of physical pieces of equipment tied together and bolted to the floor make changes difficult to make on a short schedule. The auto industry searched for years for ideas that would speed line conversions.”
AGV systems answered the call.
In fact, the auto industry discovered AGV systems quite a while ago. The first automatic guided vehicles were manufactured in the 1950s. Called tuggers, they were tow tractors used to ferry parts to stations on the manufacturing line.
On an AGV system assembly line, driverless vehicles move from workstation to workstation carrying parts and partial assemblies. A worker or workers at a station carries out the assembly task, and the system sends the AGV along to the next station.
By Michael Fickes